Since its founding just 17 years ago, the CU Anschutz Medical Campus has seen amazing growth, which we expect to accelerate thanks to the largest gift in campus history announced just last month. And while the story of our progress as a medical destination is remarkable, the most important stories here are those of lives transformed and lives saved.
Eat your vegetables -- and your chemo?
After learning that her breast cancer had returned after 12 years of remission, Sarah Jones chose to be treated at the CU Cancer Center, due to its high survival rates for advanced-stage cancer. But to fight cancer, she also had to fight I-70 traffic, often over mountain roads in icy conditions, on the 170-mile commute to her chemotherapy treatments from her home in Glenwood Springs. Making this trip every six weeks, she says, was one of the hardest parts of dealing with her cancer.
But what if patients like Sarah didn’t have to travel to campus for their chemotherapy? What if, instead, they could eat their chemotherapy in their own home?
Researchers at the CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences are working on creating edible chemotherapy by
using particles in cow’s milk. The breakthrough idea was promising enough that it
received a $2 million grant
from the National Institutes of Health. If successful, instead of being hooked up to an IV at the clinic, patients such as Nancy would be able to ingest the chemotherapy in their own kitchen.
The project is the brainchild of Tom Anchordoquy, whose innovations also include a lotion that not only prevents but actually heals skin damage from the sun. A CU pharmacy professor for two decades, Anchordoquy exemplifies the pioneering spirit in our remarkable faculty base, which has grown in both quality and quantity over the last several years. Recent additions just this month include C. Neill Epperson, new Chair of Psychiatry , an expert in women’s behavioral health and particularly the relationship between hormones and the brain, who spent over 20 years at both the University of Pennsylvania and Yale. And our brand-new College of Nursing dean , Elias Provencio-Vasquez, is a pioneer in creating innovative nursing approaches for mothers with substance-use disorders and their children. He was the first Latino male to earn a nursing doctorate and to head a nursing school in the United States.
Providing the very best care
Besides conducting groundbreaking research and teaching future health professionals, CU Anschutz faculty are increasingly recognized for the excellent clinical care they provide as physicians and other health professionals at the two hospitals on campus, which are considered among the best in the country. Recent rankings by U.S. News & World Report place Children’s Hospital Colorado and UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital both as the top hospitals in Colorado, and among the highest-ranked nationally in key specialty areas.
Growing a campus
As outside recognition of our faculty and staff grows, so too does our physical campus. The ability to expand is a critical advantage, one that distinguishes us from our peers and one we are capitalizing on. In July we closed on the purchase of 26 acres on the old Fitzsimons golf course in what is now the Fitzsimons Innovation Campus. We broke ground in the same area on our Biosciences 3 building in April. And finally, we are planning a 390,000-square-foot interdisciplinary building on campus. Slated for completion in 2021, the Anschutz Health Sciences Building will connect the latest research with patient-centered care in personalized medicine, mental and behavioral health, and more.
Educating future leaders
No wonder more students than ever are choosing CU Anschutz, where they can learn from top-tier faculty who teach in the classroom, conduct groundbreaking research in the lab, and provide leading-edge care here and throughout the state. Across our six schools and colleges -- from the Colorado School of Public Health, observing its 10th anniversary this year, to the 120-year-old College of Nursing -- CU Anschutz students come to us for a world-class education (one pharmacy student was so inspired he wrote a rap song about his experience!). It's great to see them back on campus this month, knowing in a few years they'll graduate ready to lead the next generation in redefining the health care of tomorrow.
At CU Anschutz, we’re proud of our work pushing the current boundaries of medical research and patient care, and we’re happy to share our latest initiatives with you. We invite you to learn how we’re working to transform mental health
care by joining a Sept. 25 webinar on the topic (if you're in downtown Denver,
join us in person). And we encourage you to feel free to share this e-newsletter with others who may have an interest.